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six string neck

Discussion in 'Luthier's Corner' started by action510, Dec 13, 2002.


  1. hey guys im trying to making a six string fretless neck. it will probly be maple. whats a good finderboard wood, and alos how wide should the neck be at the nut and the end of the neck ( i dont know the term) also, how long is a good length for it. if anyone knows or has a six string fretless id apriciate the help
     
  2. Zon Bass

    Zon Bass

    Jan 20, 2002
    Dallas, TX
    You will definately want to make the fingerboard out of ebony. You could go some others, and epoxy them, but ebony looks and sounds the best on fretless. Fingerboard widths are really based too much on preference to really comment on.
     
  3. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Maryland
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    You might try jatoba or purpleheart for the fingerboard if you are worried about working on an expensive piece of wood.

    My standard six string is 2" at the nut, 3.25" at the 24th position, but this ranges up to 3 3/4" depending on the manufacturer.
     
  4. ok thanks that helps alot, but two more things- how do i intall the fret lines in the right place, and how long should i make the fingerboard. ive heard everywhere from34"to38" inches
     
  5. Zon Bass

    Zon Bass

    Jan 20, 2002
    Dallas, TX
    I have never heard of a 34 or 38 inch fingerboard. You have probably just confused scale length and fingerboard length. Standard scale length is usually about 34 to 36 inches. It is the distance from the nut to where the string breaks over the bridge. The fingerboard is on average about 25 1/2 inches.
    This is for a 2 octave range, and it is exactly 3/4 of the scale length.
     
  6. effbee

    effbee

    Mar 9, 2002
    I agree with FBB... Jatoba and Purpleheart are both darn fine fingerboard woods for fretless, and are not too expensive. Be very careful about your neck width. It will depend on the string spacing at the bridge. For example, if you choose a bridge with .75" between the strings (a total of 3.75" between the B and the C string), then your neck should be about 3.625" at the 24th fret. 6-string bridges can vary a lot in string spacing so make sure that the neck width matches the bridge you choose.
    You can buy a fingerboard template from StewMac or LMI which will give you the correct locations for your fret lines, and for scale length I like 35". That is just my personal preference though, and I would advise you to play basses with different scale lengths to see which you prefer.

    Fred
    Bee Basses
     
  7. ok thanks alot that really helps me. sorry to keep asking so many qeustions, but what is a light and strong, affordable wood for bodies and for necks
     
  8. Brooks

    Brooks

    Apr 4, 2000
    Middle East
    I may be WAY off base here..but judging by your questions, you are not ready to assemble a bass from parts, let alone make a neck from scratch which is just about the toughest part of making a bass. You might want to do a lot more research and learning before you think about it - just my opinion of course, which could be totally wrong. :)
     
  9. no your right im not ready to start building yet, im still doing research and planning right now. i probley wont start building for a few months
     
  10. Brooks

    Brooks

    Apr 4, 2000
    Middle East
    That's cool :) Re. your previous question, for bodies, popular choices are swamp ash, alder, korina, mohagony, walnut. These can be found fairly cheap if you shop around. Re. the weight, both alder and swamp ash can be very light, but it varies between different pieces of wood. For some idea about that, check out www.warmoth.com

    For necks, most popular and plentiful material is hard rock maple - strong and not too heavy, also fairly cheap.
     
  11. okay thanks for all your responses. i think im about ready to start purchasing my supplies and hardware. i still have some more qeustions though. whats the difference between active and passive pickups? how do you balance your bass? what does MIM mean? are there any books or websites that show you how to wire your electronics? thanks
     
  12. Brooks

    Brooks

    Apr 4, 2000
    Middle East
    Active/Passive pickups:

    Active pickups are generally low-impedance, which basically means that 1-they have very low output and 2-that they tend to reproduce all frequencies pretty well, which is something that may or may not be desirable. Passive pickups tend to have higher output, which tends to emphasize middle frequencies.

    Active pups require a preamp to work at all. Passive pups can be used with or without a preamp. Typical example of an active system would be any Alembic.

    Balancing a bass is elementary physics - you want the center of the mass to be slightly closer to your picking hand rather than the fretting hand. Generally, this is achieved by making the headstock as light and as short as possible, by extending the upper horn and by moving the rear strap button higher.

    MIM=Made In Mexico

    Most pickup manufacturers have wiring diagrams on their web sites. There are also quite a few general sites. As usual, do a search on www.google.com and you will find plenty. StewMac and some of the other companies selling bass & guitar parts also have wiring diagrams.
     
  13. oh thanks that really clears alot of stuff up for me. but what is a pre amp?
     
  14. Brooks

    Brooks

    Apr 4, 2000
    Middle East
    You can't power a pickup with a battery, you have to have a preamp. Some preamps are small enough to fit into the pickup casing (EMGs are like that), and some preamps are bigger, and therefore separate (Alembics).
     
  15. Richard Lindsey

    Richard Lindsey

    Mar 25, 2000
    Metro NYC
    I always thought a pickup with a built in pre is what an active PU is by definition, which would suggest that you and Matt are both right in a sense. If you go into GC and buy an active pickup like an EMG, all you need to make it work is a battery. I am not sure you can have an active PU without a preamp--then it wouldn't be active, would it?:D

    A PU can be low impedance and low output without being active of course; the lozenge shaped pickups on the old Les Paul Recording guitars (and the corresponding short-scale Les Paul Triumph basses) are good examples.
     
  16. FBB Custom

    FBB Custom TalkBass Pro Commercial User

    Jan 26, 2002
    Maryland
    Owner: FBB Bass Works
    I just deleted my dumbly-worded reply about active pickups.

    In any case, I recommend that the original poster pick up "Make Your Own Electric Guitar" by Melvyn Hiscock before cutting wood.